Clemson Tigers (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS, 1-1 O/U) vs. Louisville Cardinals (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 O/U)
NCAAF: Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Louisville, KY
The Line: Clemson -2.5
What a prime time match up this Saturday between two top 25 teams when Louisville plays host to Clemson the defending National Champion. The Tigers used their offense in their season-opening blowout win and then this last Saturday they played great defense in beating a ranked Auburn team holding them to six points. Last season in a shootout Clemson beat Louisville 42-36.
Like Clemson, Louisville is 2-0 and while their offense has played well behind reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson the same cannot be said about their defense. They have not faced a ranked opponent and in their first game they gave up 28 points and in their last game they gave up 35. Jackson and the Cardinals offense will be tested in this game by a Clemson D that has given up only nine points on the season.
Clemson beat Auburn 14-6 in their last game where they played great defense and had 11 sacks. DE Austin Bryant had four of those sacks and they clamped down on Auburn holding them to only 117 total yards and only 38 rushing yards. The Tigers only had 284 yards in the game and they turned the ball over twice. QB Kelly Bryant passed for 181 yards and also was the team’s leading rusher for 59 yards and two TD. He will be up against a Louisville defense that stuffed the run last week in their win over North Carolina, but did give up 384 passing yards. If Bryant, the one on D, and company can keep Jackson in check they have a great shot to win this ACC match up.
Racking up the yards
Ok, so the Cardinals did not have their best defensive effort in their last game, where their secondary really struggled, but they did rack up 705 yards. Lamar Jackson had a game where it looked like he is the Heisman trophy winner passing for 393 yards with three TD and no INT and he also rushed for 132 yards and three TD. He accounted for six TD in the game and it is no secret that to stop Louisville you have to contain Jackson. UNC looked like they would pull off the big upset, but they gave up 20 points in the 4th quarter. WR Jaylen Smith had a big game with 183 receiving yards and TD with Dez Fitzpatrick with 78 receiving yards and two TD. Malik Williams rushed for 149 yards in the game averaging 11.5 yards per carry and peeled off a 74-yard run. If the Cardinals defense struggles again Jackson and company will have to light up the scoreboard, which is no easy task facing the legit Clemson defense.
The Clemson Tigers are:
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win
- 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following an ATS win
The Louisville Cardinals are:
- 0-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
The Cardinals have failed to cover the spread in their last four games facing a team with a winning record. That trend will continue with Clemson coming to town. Jackson may have a good game, but not a great one like last week and because of that the Cardinals will not score a lot of points. Their D will be exposed again and without a lot of points they will come out on the short end of the stick. Clemson will win this game, stay undefeated, and hand Louisville their first loss of the season.